The Human Truth Foundation

Human Rights and Freedom in Libya

By Vexen Crabtree 2019

#christianity #equality #freedom #human_rights #ISIS #libya #politics #tolerance

Libya
Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

[Country Profile Page]
StatusIndependent State
Social and Moral Index145th best
LocationAfrica, The Mediterranean
Population6.7m1
Life Expectancy71.76yrs (2017)2

Libya is very poor at ensuring human rights and freedom compared to the rest of the world, and it has cultural issues when it comes to tolerance and equality. Libya does worse than average for its nominal commitment to Human Rights3, supporting press freedom4 and in freethought5. It sits amongst the bottom 20 in terms of its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice6 (amongst the worst in Africa), commentary in Human Rights Watch reports7 (amongst the worst in Africa) and in LGBT equality8 (one of the worst in Africa). And finally, it is the worst in supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms9. Freedom of speech is undermined by needlessly aggressive and restrictive laws10. In 2016, slave markets in Libya had migrant men, women and children auctioned off to the highest bidders, many destined for lives of abuse11. In 2017, the country is still steeped in conflict between multiple militias (including ISIS) and competing proto-governments, the fighting has "decimated the economy and public services, including the public health system, law enforcement, and the judiciary" with executions and widespread human rights abuses10. Freedom of religion and freedom of belief are not protected in Libya and minorities such as Sufis and Christians are openly attacked10.


1. Libya's Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance

#equality #human_rights #morals #politics #prejudice #tolerance

Human Rights, Equality & Tolerance (2020)12,13
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Rank12,13
1Sweden9.9
2Denmark14.7
3Norway15.5
...
149Guinea-Bissau117.3
150Gambia117.4
151Saudi Arabia117.6
152Libya117.7
153Liberia118.0
154UAE119.8
155Central African Rep.121.2
156Oman121.5
157Ethiopia121.5
World Avg89.0
q=199.

The best countries in the world at ensuring human rights, fostering equality and promoting tolerance, are Sweden, Denmark and Norway12. These countries are displaying the best traits that humanity has to offer. The worst countries are The Solomon Islands, Palestine and Somalia12.

The data sets used to calculate points for each country are statistics on commentary in Human Rights Watch reports, its nominal commitment to Human Rights, speed of uptake of HR treaties, supporting personal, civil & economic freedoms, supporting press freedom, eliminating modern slavery, opposing gender inequality, the year from which women could participate in democracy, its success in fighting anti-semitic prejudice, LGBT equality and freethought. The regions with the best average results per country are Scandinavia, Baltic States and Europe12, whereas the worst are Melanesia, Micronesia and Australasia12.

For more, see:

2. Human Rights & Tolerance Data Sets

2.1. Human Rights Watch Comments

#human_rights

Human Rights Watch Comments (2017)7
Pos.Higher is better
Score7
1UK9
2France9
3Germany9
...
110Myanmar (Burma)-9
111Eritrea-9
112Somalia-9
113Libya-9
114Sudan-10
115Iran-10
116Burundi-10
117N. Korea-10
World Avg-1.9
q=123.

Human Rights Watch comments concentrate mostly on negative issues, however, they also make positive comments for those countries that engage in human rights defence around the world, or who make improvements at home. By adding up positive and negative comments (including double-points for negatives that involve large scales and crimes against humanity), the Social and Moral Index turns HRW commentary into quantified values. Some countries may be unfairly penalized because HRW have not examined them, and, some countries "get away" with abuses if they manage to hide it, or if it goes unnoticed - a negative point has been given for those countries in which HRW specifically state that access to investigators has been barred. The points were limited to a minimum of -10 because there are some points at which things are so bad, with abuses affecting so many, it is difficult to be more specific about the depths of the issues.

2.2. Nominal Commitment to HR

#human_rights

Nominal Commitment to HR (2009)3
Pos.Higher is better
Treaties3
1Argentina24
2Chile23
3Costa Rica23
...
103Tanzania15
104St Vincent & Grenadines15
105Liberia15
106Libya15
107Maldives15
108Andorra15
109Cape Verde15
110Bangladesh15
World Avg15.1
q=194.

There are many international agreements on human rights, and, many mechanisms by which countries can be brought to account for their actions. Together, these have been the biggest historical movement in the fight against oppression and inhumanity. Or, putting it another way: these are rejected mostly by those who wish to oppress inhumanely. None of them are perfect and many people object to various components and wordings, but, no-one has come up with, and enforced, better methods of controlling the occasional desires that states and peoples have of causing angst for other states and peoples in a violent, unjust or inhumane way. Points are awarded for the number of human rights agreements ratified by the country, plus the acceptance of the petition mechanisms for disputes. The maximum possible score in 2009 was 24.

2.3. HR Treaties Lag

#human_rights #international_law #micronesia #politics #small_islands

HR Treaties Lag (2019)14
Pos.Lower is better
Avg Yrs/Treaty14
1Ecuador2.15
2Uruguay2.25
3Tunisia3.65
...
22Morocco5.44
23Romania5.52
24France5.61
25Libya5.61
26Germany5.62
27Austria5.68
28Belarus5.71
29Canada5.73
World Avg10.02
q=195.

Human Rights (HR) Treaties Lag is a count of how long it took each country to sign each of 11 key HR treaties. From the date of the first signatory of each treaty, all other countries have one point added to their score for each day they delayed in signing. Results are presented as average time in years to sign each one. The lower a country's score, the more enthusiastically it has taken on international Human Rights Treaties - which are, of course, minimal standards of good governance. The slowest are the countries of Micronesia, Melanesia, Australasia and Polynesia all lagged by over 12 years per treaty. The best regions are The Americas, Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

For more, see:

2.4. Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom

#freedom #politics

Personal, Civil & Economic Freedom (2014)9
Pos.Lower is better
Rank9
1Hong Kong1
2Switzerland2
3New Zealand3
...
152Algeria152
153Myanmar (Burma)153
154Venezuela154
155Central African Rep.155
156Syria156
157Iran157
158Yemen158
159Libya159
World Avg79.7
q=159.

The Human Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute is...

... a broad measure of human freedom, understood as the absence of coercive constraint. It uses 79 distinct indicators of personal and economic freedom in the following areas: Rule of Law, Security and Safety, Movement, Religion, Association, Assembly, and Civil Society, Expression, Relationships, Size of Government, Legal System and Property Rights, Access to Sound Money, Freedom to Trade Internationally, Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business. [...]

The highest levels of freedom are in Western Europe, Northern Europe, and North America (Canada and the United States. The lowest levels are in the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. [...]

Countries in the top quartile of freedom enjoy a significant higher per capita income ($37,147) [compared with] the least-free quartile [at] $8,700). The HFI finds a strong correlation between human freedom and democracy.

"The Human Freedom Index" by The Fraser Institute (2016)15

2.5. Press Freedom

#democracy #freedom #mass_media #politics #UK

Press Freedom (2013)4
Pos.Lower is better4
1Finland638
2Netherlands648
3Norway652
...
127Afghanistan3736
128Colombia3748
129Angola3780
130Libya3786
131Burundi3802
132Zimbabwe3812
133Jordan3847
134Thailand3860
World Avg3249
q=178.

The freedom to investigate, publish information, and have access to others' opinion is a fundamental part of today's information-driven world. Scores on the Press Freedom Index are calculated according to indicators including pluralism - the degree to which opinions are represented in the media, media independence of authorities, self-censorship, legislation, transparency and the infrastructure that supports news and information, and, the level of violence against journalists which includes lengths of imprisonments. The index "does not take direct account of the kind of political system but it is clear that democracies provide better protection for the freedom to produce and circulate accurate news and information than countries where human rights are flouted".

It must be noted that press freedom is not an indicator of press quality and the press itself can be abusive; the UK suffers in particular from a popular brand of nasty reporting that infuses several of its newspapers who are particularly prone to running destructive and often untrue campaigns against victims. The Press Freedom Index notes that "the index should in no way be taken as an indicator of the quality of the media in the countries concerned".

"Armed groups intimidated, threatened, and physically attacked activists, journalists, bloggers, and media professionals"10.

2.6. Slavery

#burundi #eritrea #france #human_rights #indonesia #slavery

Slavery (2018)16
Pos.Lower is better
% Victims16
1Japan0.03
2Canada0.05
3Taiwan0.05
...
135Uganda0.76
136Timor-Leste (E. Timor)0.77
137Philippines0.77
138Libya0.77
139Nigeria0.77
140Guinea0.78
141Greece0.79
142Congo, (Brazzaville)0.80
World Avg0.65
q=167.

The taking of slaves has been an unwholesome feature of Human cultures since prehistory17. Private households and national endeavours have frequently been augmented with the use of slaves. The Egyptian and Roman empires both thrived on them for both purposes. Aside from labourers they are often abused sexually by their owners and their owners' friends18. The era of colonialism and the beginnings of globalisation changed nothing: the imprisonment and forced movements of labour continued to destroy many lives except that new justifications were invented based on Christian doctrine and the effort to convert non-Christians. By 1786 over 12 million slaves had been extracted from Africa and sent to colonial labour camps, with a truly atrocious condition of life19. But they were not the only ones to blame; in Africa internal nations such as the Asantes sold and bought tens of thousands of slaves20.

The abolition of the slave trade was a long and slow process. Until a relatively modern time, even philosophers, religious leaders and those concerned with ethics justified, or ignored, the problem of slavery21. The first abolitionists were always the slaves themselves. Their protests and rebellions caused the industry to become too expensive to continue. After that, it was the economic costs of maintain slave colonies that led the British to reject and then oppose the slave trade globally. Finally, the enlightenment-era thinkers of France encouraged moral and ethical thinking including the declaration of the inherent value of human life and human dignity22. A long-overdue wave of compassionate and conscientious movements swept across the West, eliminating public support for slavery, until the industries and churches that supported it had no choice but to back down.

'Modern slavery' includes forced labour (often of the under-age), debt bondage (especially generational), sexual slavery, chattel slavery and other forms of abuse, some of which can be surprisingly difficult to detect, but often target those fleeing from warzones and the vulnerable.23. Some industries (diamond, clothing, coal) from some countries (Burundi16, Eritrea16, Indonesia24) are a particular concern. The Walk Free Foundation, say that in 2016, 40.3 million people were living in modern slavery25.

For more, see:

In 2016, slave markets in Libya had migrant men, women and children auctioned off to the highest bidders11, many of whom are clearly heading for a life of slavery and sexual abuse.

3. Gender Equality Data Sets

Libya is on the way towards ending gender inequality.

Libyan law does not specifically criminalize domestic violence. Personal statuslaws continue to discriminate against women, particularly with respect to marriage, divorce, and inheritance. The penal code allows for a reduced sentence for a man who kills or injures his wife or another female relative because he suspects her of extramarital sexual relations. It also allows rapists to escape prosecution if they marry their victim under article 424.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)10

See:

3.1. Gender Inequality

#gender #gender_equality #human_rights #misogyny #women

Gender Inequality (2015)26
Pos.Lower is better26
1Switzerland0.04
2Denmark0.04
3Netherlands0.04
...
35Bosnia & Herzegovina0.16
36Macedonia0.16
37China0.16
38Libya0.17
39Slovakia0.18
40Serbia0.18
41Latvia0.19
42Kazakhstan0.20
World Avg0.36
q=159.

The UN Human Development Reports include statistics on gender equality which take into account things like maternal mortality, access to political power (seats in parliament) and differences between male and female education rates. Gender inequality is not a necessary part of early human development. Although a separation of roles is almost universal due to different strengths between the genders, this does not have to mean that women are subdued, and, such patriarchialism is not universal in ancient history. Those cultures and peoples who shed, or never developed, the idea that mankind ought to dominate womankind, are better cultures and peoples than those who, even today, cling violently to those mores.

3.2. Year Women Can Vote

#christianity #gender_equality #human_rights #politics #women

Year Women Can Vote
Pos.Lower is better
Year
1New Zealand1893
2Australia1902
3Finland1906
...
144Equatorial Guinea1963
145Bahamas1963
146Sudan1964
147Libya1964
148Papua New Guinea1964
149Lesotho1965
150Botswana1965
151Tuvalu1967
World Avg1930
q=189.

Women now have equal rights in the vast majority of countries across the world. Although academic literature oftens talks of when a country "grants women the right to vote", this enforces a backwards way of thinking. Women always had the right to vote, however, they were frequently denied that right. The opposition to women's ability to vote in equality with man was most consistently and powerfully opposed by the Catholic Church, other Christian organisations, Islamic authorities and some other religious and secular traditionalists.

4. Prejudice Data Sets

4.1. Anti-Semite Opinions

#antisemitism #christianity #germany #indonesia #israel #jordan #judaism #laos #morocco #netherlands #pakistan #philippines #religion #religious_violence #saudi_arabia #spain #sweden #turkey #UK #vietnam

Anti-Semite Opinions (2014)6
Pos.Lower is better
%6
1Laos0
2Philippines3
3Sweden4
...
94Jordan81
95Bahrain81
96Kuwait82
97Tunisia86
98Algeria87
99Libya87
100Yemen88
101Iraq92
World Avg36.8
q=101.

Anti-Semitism is the world given to irrational racism against Jews. It is not the same as anti-Judaism (involving arguments against the religion) nor the same as anti-Zionism (arguments against Israel). In history, influential Christian theologians concocted the arguments against Jews that led, very early on, to widespread Christian action against Jews27,28,29,30. As Christianity rose to power in the West and presided over the Dark Ages, there were widespread violent outbursts against Jews of the most persistent and horrible kind. The Crusades were frequently aimed at them and the feared Spanish Inquisition paid Jews particular attention. The horror of the holocaust instigated by German Nazis in the 1940s was followed (finally) by the era of European human rights and a movement against racism in general.

The places that are the least anti-Semitical are a few countries of south-east Asia (Laos, the Philippines and Vietnam) and some of the secular liberal democracies of Europe (Sweden, the Netherlands and the UK). The worst countries for antisemitism are Islamic states of the Middle East31, which are undergoing their own Dark Age. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Indonesia, Pakistan and Turkey see the most oppressive and violent actions towards Jews32,33. Jews in Muslim countries face a host of restrictions and "ceaseless humiliation and regular pogroms"34. In 2004 the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia reported on violent anti-Jew crimes in the EU and found that that largest group of perpetrators were young Muslim males35.

For more, see:

4.2. LGBT Equality

#equality #homosexuality #human_rights #intolerance #sexuality #tolerance

Homosexuality is illegal in Libya and can result in a 5-year prison sentence, because same-sex marriage is not possible, and extra-marital sex is illegal10.

LGBT Equality (2017)8
Pos.Higher is better
Score8
1Netherlands103
2Belgium90
3Sweden86
...
186Guinea-39
187Cameroon-39
188Senegal-39
189Libya-42
190Morocco-42
191Solomon Islands-44
192Qatar-54
193Sudan-67
World Avg12.6
q=196.

Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) folk is rife across the world. Legal restrictions co-exist alongside social stigmatisation and physical violence36. LGBT tolerance and equal rights have been fought for country-by-country across the world, often against tightly entrenched cultural and religious opposition. Adult consensual sexual activity is a Human Right, protected by privacy laws37. Despite this, homosexual activity is outlawed in around 80 countries36. The Social & Moral LGBT Equality Index was created to compare countries and regions, granting points to each country for a variety of factors including how long gay sex has been criminalized and the extent of LGBT legal rights. Graded negative points are given for criminality of homosexuality, unequal ages of consent, legal punishments and for not signing international accords on LGBT tolerance. The signs in many developed countries are positive, and things are gradually improving. Europe is by far the least prejudiced region (Scandinavia in particular being exemplary). The Middle East and then Africa are the least morally developed, where cultural bias goes hand-in-hand with state intolerance, all too often including physical violence.

For more, see:

4.3. Freedom of Thought

#europe #freedom_of_belief #freethought #human_rights #netherlands #religion #religious_tolerance #secularism #the_enlightenment

Freedom of Thought (2021)5
Pos.Lower is better5
1Belgium1.0
2Netherlands1.0
3Taiwan1.0
...
165Azerbaijan4.0
166Lebanon4.0
167Vietnam4.0
168Libya4.0
169Algeria4.0
170Iraq4.3
171Nigeria4.3
172Comoros4.3
World Avg3.0
q=196.

Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Belief are upheld in Article 18 the United Nation's Universal Declaration of Human Rights38. It affirms that it is a basic human right that all people are free to change their beliefs and religion as they wish39. No countries voted against this (although eight abstained). This right was first recognized clearly in the policies of religious toleration of the Netherlands and elsewhere in Europe in the post-enlightenment era40 of the 19th century. In democratic countries, freedom of belief and religion is now taken for granted41. In 2016 a study found that over 180 countries in the world had come to guarantee freedom of religion and belief42. The best countries at doing so are Taiwan, Belgium and The Netherlands5,43 and the worst: Afghanistan, N. Korea, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia5,44.

Long-term studies have shown that religious violence and persecution both decrease in cultures where religious freedom is guaranteed45. Despite this, there still are many who are strongly against freedom of belief39, including entire cultures and many individual communities of religious believers. Their alternative is that you are not free to believe what you want and they often state that you cannot change religion without being punished (often including the death penalty): this is bemoaned as one of the most dangerous elements of religion46 and "the denial of religious freedoms is inevitably intertwined with the denial of other freedoms"47 and the solution is, everywhere, to allow religious freedom and the freedom of belief.

For more, see:

5. Freedom of Belief and Religion

#christianity #ISIS #libya

Freedom of religion and freedom of belief are not protected in Libya; in addition the current conflict from 2011 has allowed "militias and forces affiliated with several interim authorities, as well as ISIS fighters [to attack] religious minorities, including Sufis and Christians, and [destroy] religious sites in Libya with impunity"10.

Since 2011, militias and forces affiliated with several interim authorities, as well as ISIS fighters, have attacked religious minorities, including Sufis and Christians, and destroyed religious sites in Libya with impunity.

In July 2017, the Supreme Fatwa Committee under the General Authority for Endowments and Islamic Affairs, the religious authority of the Interim Government, issued a religious edict calling the minority Ibadi sect of Islam “a misguided and aberrant group,” and “infidels without dignity.” The Ibadi faith is practiced by many Amazighs, mostly in western Libya. Amazighs number between 300,000 and 400,000 of Libya´s total population of 6.5 million. The GNA responded by condemning the religious edict.

In August, unidentified armed groups in Benghazi reportedly kidnapped or arrested 21 Sufi adherents, a minority Muslim group, at different times and different locations. As of September, none of the 21 had been released.

"World Report 2018" by Human Rights Watch (2018)10